Alfred Austin

(30 May 1835 – 2 June 1913 / Headingley)

Mafeking - Poem by Alfred Austin

Once again, banners, fly!
Clang again, bells, on high,
Sounding to sea and sky,
Longer and louder,
Mafeking's glory with
Kimberley, Ladysmith,
Of our unconquered kith
Prouder and prouder.

Hemmed in for half a year,
Still with no succour near,
Nor word of hope to cheer
Wounded and dying,
Famished, and foiled of sleep
By the fierce cannon's leap,
They vowed still, still to keep
England's Flag flying.

Nor was their mettle shown
By male and strong alone,
But, as intrepid grown,
Fragile and tender,
Without or tear or sigh,
Echoed the brave old cry,
``We, too, would rather die,
Die than surrender.''

As pressed the foe more near,
Only with naked spear,
Ne'er knowing what to fear,
Parley, or blench meant,
Forward through shot and shell,
While still the foremost fell,
They with resistless yell
Stormed his entrenchment.

Then, when hope dawned at last,
And fled the foe, aghast
At the relieving blast
Heard in the melley,-
O our stout, stubborn kith!
Kimberley, Ladysmith,
Mafeking, wedded with
Lucknow and Delhi!

Sound for them martial lay!
Crown them with battle-bay,
Both those who died, and they
'Gainst death could wrestle:
Powell of endless fame,
All, all with equal claim,
And, of the storied name,
Gallant young Cecil!

Long as the waves shall roll,
Long as Fame guards her scroll,
And men through heart and soul
Thrill to true glory,
Their deed, from age to age,
Shall voice and verse engage,
Swelling the splendid page
Of England's Story.


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 8, 2010



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